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Dangerous Territory by Cari Z. (4 Stars)

A futuristic western mixed in with shifters makes for an exciting story.

Carter Bly just buried his father, and now he’s on the verge of losing everything he owns due to his sister’s bad choice of a husband. He needs to get his cattle to town and get top dollar before his brother-in-law beats him to it. If he’s not successful, he won’t make enough money to keep his home. He’ll need help to do it, and he gets it from the shifter community. Rani is the son of the new chief of the local shifter tribe. He’s trying to prove that he can eventually lead his tribe by helping Carter in return for some cattle. The two form a tentative friendship until trouble strikes.

The story takes place in the future when the world is filled with shifter communities, and a very unstable relationship exists between most shifters and full humans. Although it wasn’t heavy in the romance department, it was an interesting and unique tale. I really enjoyed the well-written action scenes. At one point, I felt like I was in the canyon with Carter and Rani fighting off snakes and floods. I liked both of the characters, although I wish I would have gotten to know Rani better. Based on how well he took care of Carter when he needed help, we knew he was a caring person. Carter was strong and passionate, and I was rooting for him to be successful.

The conversations between Carter and Rani were pretty adorable. I liked Keena and Gertrude, who worked on the ranch before Carter was born and acted as a second set of parents to Carter. They added a nice element to the story and gave Carter a stronger reason to go through the danger of traveling with his cattle.

A fun adventure with cowboys, shifters, love, and friendship.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
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Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1) by Anne Tenino (4 Stars)

An enjoyable story about a relationship between two people who seemed unlikely to get along.

Sam is a very sweet young man who is also a huge reader of romance stories. He tends to relate a lot of things in his personal life to how it would happen in a typical romance. Hence the title, “Too Stupid To Live”, is one of his common thoughts about activities taking place around him. He is also a fairly happy person with an enjoyable personality and a supportive group of friends and family. Ian, on the other hand, was a troubled young man. After an accident left him unable to continue as a fireman, and a family that clearly didn’t support the fact that he was gay, he decided to move to a new town. He realized that he lacked common emotional social skills and was actively trying to improve himself. He would have been an unlikable character except that we got to hear what was going on in his head. It was very apparent that he cared deeply for Sam and was just horrible at expressing himself. I enjoyed his therapy sessions where he exposed his deeper thoughts and fears.

The plot moved along nicely, the dialog was witty and enjoyable, and the sex scenes were very steamy and slightly kinky. It took quite a bit of time for them to move from just having sex to having a relationship. I think if that had happened sooner, and we could have enjoyed their relationship longer, it would have been an amazing book.

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Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham (5 Stars)

Two lonely men discover friendship and love even though they fight it all the way.

Ben lost his husband, the love of his life, after 25 wonderful years together. For the past two years, he’s been living his lonely life running an outdoor adventure resort with his sister-in-law, Miriam.

Jacob is finally a junior partner at his law firm. He worked so hard to get to this point, but it was to the detriment of all of his relationships. He’s never been in love, but he’s finally starting to think it was a mistake not to share his life with somebody else. When he discovers that one of the other partners might be engaging in shady activities, he decides to investigate. He ends up at Ben’s resort, and the instant attraction between the two of them is the beginning of a lovely relationship.

Ben brings a lot of history and memories of his husband into the new relationship with Jacob. Ben had been with his husband for 25 years, all of Ben’s reflections are positive without any regrets, and Jacob is never seen as a replacement. For these reasons, it never bothered me that Ben spent a lot of time thinking of the past. I really enjoyed watching the two of them enjoy being with each other over the months that the story takes place. They made a beautiful couple, and it came through in their thoughts and actions.

The investigation of the potentially corrupt partner gave Ben and Jacob reasons to see each other. Since both of them were fighting the idea of spending their lives together for understandable reasons, it was great for them to have an excuse for bonding time.

I really enjoyed this beautiful romance between two mature men who had to learn how to move forward with their lives.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb

Dom of Ages (Collars and Cuffs #7) by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams (2 Stars)

Sexy times continue at Collars and Cuffs.

Jarod lost his master of 20 years in a horrible accident, and years later he’s still struggling to move on with his own life. He needs to find a new master, but it appears most doms don’t want a 50-year old sub. Eli is 30, and he’s finally ready to settle down. When he first sets eyes on Jarod, he’s instantly drawn to him. Age doesn’t make any difference to him when Jarod is so clearly the sub Eli’s been looking for.

The two men hit it off almost instantly. The fact that Eli isn’t a great dom doesn’t seem to bother Jarod. Even though Eli initially treats Jarod as a housekeeper, somehow Jarod isn’t bothered by his actions. Fortunately, Eli’s friends help him to see the error in his ways and give him some pointers to improve his behavior. The age wasn’t really a factor since neither of them were bothered by it. Jarod’s biggest concern was that Eli would eventually have to deal with losing Jarod, even if they both just died of old age.  Their sexual interactions were very touching, and they enjoyed trying different things including mummification and sounding (inserting probes in the urethra).

My biggest issue with the story was Jarod’s lack of personality. He came across as too simple-minded, and I failed to understand why either of these men would truly want to be with each other. I really struggled to connect with the characters as a couple. It was nice to see some of the other characters from the first 6 books.

A steamy entry in the Collars & Cuffs series.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb